I was born within the older county boundaries of Northumberland, sadly now annexed as Tyne and Wear. My paternal grandparent’s families were from Bardon Mill on the River Tyne near Vindolanda Roman Fort, and Plashetts in the North Tyne Valley (now under Kielder Water). Both families gravitated towards Newcastle in search of work. My maternal grandfather was from Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders and did the same, probably via Plashetts.
Although I used to go on riding holidays near Hexham as a teenager, I didn’t start walking regularly in the county until after moving back up from London several years later. I began walking in North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders with my partner and friends, just before the foot and mouth epidemic broke out. This period gave me an affecting insight into the fragility of the farming economy and the importance of respecting the countryside.
This frequent walking eventually led to my joining a walking group on the Scottish / English border, which gave me more opportunites to explore the Cheviot Hills and beyond, on some of the finest walks in the county. I learned about the local geography, botany, geology, history and folklore of the area by reading and listening to local people as I gradually acclimatised to the different rhythms of country life. Many of my Northumberland day hike routes are available to download on Viewranger.
My first Northumberland distance walk was Hadrian’s wall followed by the St Cuthbert’s Way which crosses into Northumberland near Kirk Yetholm, the Pennine Way, which includes some breathtaking parts of the county, and the first part of the Northumberland Coast Path.
I started recording my walks on video in 2012 to share with others. Below is a link to my Northumberland playlist. I have included a few walks which cross over onto both sides of the border, or are along to the border. I have put these into both Scottish and Northumberland playlists.
Northumberland walks Playlist
I have also created a Tyneside walks playlist of walks which can be done using public transport. I have been gradually creating GPX routes on my Viewranger profile for these walks.
Tyneside walks Playlist